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Nomura subsidiary Laser Digital obtains license to operate in the UAE

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Virtual asset service provider (VASP) Laser Digital has announced the receipt of a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Abu Dhabi regulator after a year-long licensing procedure.

In a statement posted by Nomura, Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) issued the FSP to Laser Digital upon meeting several statutory and regulatory conditions. By virtue of the license issuance, Laser Digital has solidified its place in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and can offer full digital asset services to clients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Nomura subsidiary may provide broker-dealer and fund management services to retail and institutional clients, with CEO Jez Mohideen confirming the addition of traditional asset classes.

“Our team at Laser is delighted with this significant milestone, and we are eager to contribute responsibly to the virtual asset industry in the UAE,” said Mohideen. “We have always been committed to upholding the highest standards of compliance and regulations at ADGM, and we look forward to contributing to ADGM’s ecosystem.”

The road to receiving a license has not been smooth sailing for Laser Digital with the company dealing with heightened regulatory scrutiny and a changing playbook for digital asset service providers.

In 2023, Laser Digital clinched an in-principle approval from the FSRA, allowing it to offer broker-dealer services with certain limitations pending full approval. After proceeding with limited services for nearly one year and meeting the requirements of the regulator, the firm is now one step closer to its expansionist goals.

“We’re delighted to welcome Laser Digital as we expand our financial community to include partners such as Laser, whose offerings align with ADGM and the FSRA’s international best practices and progressive regulatory ecosystem,” said Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM.

With registration in Dubai and Abu Dhabi firmly under its belt, the company has its sights in Japan and several European and Southeast Asian countries. Apart from its regulatory wins in different jurisdictions, Laser Digital is racking up points in venture funding with over four investments in the last two months.

UAE’s allure for digital asset firms

Since 2022, several global digital asset service providers have been scrambling to set up operations in the oil-rich country, buoyed by several factors. At the top of the list appears to be Dubai’s crystal-clear regulations, an active regulator, and support for local and international service providers.

Other perks include tax benefits, access to Web3 funds, cross-industry dialogue, and public-private sector collaboration. OKX has since obtained a license to offer virtual asset services to UAE residents through a licensing process that is described as fair and transparent.

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